The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a game of stories. They unravel as you explore the vast open world as Geralt, a witcher who hunts monsters with magic and a special sword. What I love about this game is how well-crafted each side quest is, until it doesn’t feel like a “side” quest but just another adventure Geralt has, with real characters and meaning.
That’s why, in this second post about my favorite quests in video games, I’m featuring one of these stories. (*Quest spoilers to follow!)
In the quest “A Towerful of Mice,” Geralt investigates a mysterious island for his friend, the sorceress Keira Metz (who is one of my favorite characters ever, by the way). The isle is cursed with rats, who devoured the inhabitants a while back. Using a magic lantern, Geralt is able to spot ghosts on the island — and all the while he’s slashing down hostile creatures like rotfiends and drowners who get in his way. It’s a creepy place, and very atmospheric to explore.
In the main tower on the island, he encounters clues about a mage who was performing experiments here, infecting the rats with a plague that then affected humans. Eventually Geralt meets the ghost of the lord’s daughter, Annabelle, who tells him about this mage. The story of the mage’s experiments and the fate of the island is an interesting and terrible tale, but what’s even more heartbreaking is hearing that she took a poison to appear dead, all to survive this chaos. In a Romeo and Juliet twist, her true love, Graham, thought she was really dead and left her there. When she awoke, she was alone on the island. The rats ate her alive.
Geralt urges Annabelle to forgive Graham, which would lift the curse on the isle. So Annabelle wants Geralt to bring her bones to Graham, who is on the mainland — but you have a choice here. Being a sucker for a good love story, I brought her bones back to her love. When Geralt tells Graham her fate, Graham is devastated to learn that Annabelle was actually alive, that he could have saved her.
But it turns out Annabelle tricked me. Returning to the scene shows me Graham’s body, with Annabelle floating over it, now free to plague the land.
If you’re smart enough to see this coming, Annabelle gets upset that you won’t take her bones to Graham, and you have to fight her there in the tower. Either way, it’s a great twist that just makes the whole story even more tragic.